Author Topic: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?  (Read 5712 times)

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Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 555
Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« on: April 20, 2017, 07:50 AM »
I was turning a small piece of lignum vitae a couple of weeks ago, and found that it really smells good.  I have a small piece at work that I occasionally scrape a bit just for the smell.

Other woods that I think smell really good when cut include Port Orford cedar and imbuiya (in small doses).

Aromatic cedars and junipers are also nice, but are quite commen.

I've never had the opportunity to cut sandalwood or camphor.

It seems that woods with distinctive odors are that way because of the oils in the wood, and that means that they tend to be allergens and irritants as well.  Also, several of the woods on the list are on at least one non-sustainable list, including lignum vitae, Port Orford cedar, and several species of sandalwood.

On the bad side, last year I cut down a Siberian Elm (which everyone around here wishes was non-sustainable) with just a hint of a musty pile of wet carpet from a room where cats had lived without enough training.  It's still drying, so I haven't been able to cut it dry yet.

What woods do you like to cut because they smell good?
Any that you think smell particularly bad?
Any unusual local woods that the rest of us would have trouble getting?
What woods maintain their scent over time in a way that enhances pieces that use them?  Aromatic cedar is an obvious example.

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Offline Lettusbee

  • Posts: 32
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2017, 08:26 AM »
I don't care for the aroma of poplar.

Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 141
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2017, 09:19 AM »
White oak...it's used for bourbon aging barrels and the smell/taste is reflected in fine bourbons!

Offline WastedP

  • Posts: 339
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2017, 09:27 AM »
The first time I smelled fresh cuts of Australian Cypress, it made me sad.  Sad because it smelled delicious and I couldn't eat it.  It's like cinnamon and cedar had a baby. 

Offline Dick Mahany

  • Posts: 103
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2017, 11:41 AM »
Favorites: Amboyna burl, and Cedar
Un-favorites: MDF and the smell of burning maple from dull cutters (not that I would ever know this) [embarassed]

Offline dmccririe

  • Posts: 26
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2017, 01:42 PM »
I love the smell of cherry. 

Offline Peter_C

  • Posts: 448
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2017, 03:13 PM »
Cutting pine always produces great smells. Chainsaws do a wonderful job of spreading the smells around.

Offline johntheoak

  • Posts: 8
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2017, 08:19 PM »
Favorite wood, Oak naturally! Worst smell Zebrawood, Greenheart has a very pungent smell too.

Offline cblanton42

  • Posts: 76
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2017, 08:31 PM »
I like the smell of a lot of different woods Pine and cedar are very distinctive but I'm a Kentucky boy so oak for the bourbon barrels is my favorite. The worst to me is zebrawood when sanding, it smells like dung!!

Offline hopper

  • Posts: 104
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2017, 06:49 AM »
I like the smell of black walnut.  Hate the small of real Teak (smells like rotting garbage)

Offline Richard/RMW

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Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2017, 07:25 AM »
Walnut is definitely my favored shop scent.

Bubinga on the other hand is toxic to me. First time I used it I was careless about wearing a respirator and gave myself a 7-day sinus infection. Just recently I cut a 3" strip of 3/8 stock on the bandsaw and hand sanded it to make a test of square plugs and felt the effects. It's now on my hazardous materials list.

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Offline Untidy Shop

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Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2017, 07:38 AM »
If you don't like Signatures, just go to Look and Layout and tick No Signatures.

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Offline T. Ernsberger

  • Posts: 820
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2017, 08:29 AM »
I turn some acrylic before and for me its the worst smell.  I will not work with it anymore.  My favorite wood to work with is Cherry as far as smell.  Ipe was the wood that got me into Festool being I have an a allergy to it. 


Offline vidkid26

  • Posts: 80
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Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2017, 01:06 PM »
Canarywood smells like the sweet aroma of everything nice about woodworking.
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Offline deepcreek

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Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2017, 04:26 PM »
BEST - When I was in Phoenix for a wedding last Summer, I bought three slabs taken from the biggest Olive tree in Arizona (killed by a lightning strike).  I folded down the seats in a rented Ford Explorer and drove home to Houston enjoying the pleasant smell of fresh olives.

WORST - Shortly before the trip, I scorched some Gaboon Ebony trying to reduce the thickness by 1/32 with a drum sander.  (Suffice it to say bad things happen in the workshop when you're in a hurry.)  Burnt ebony doesn't just smell acrid, the smoke is also very toxic.  My lungs felt like they were on fire!  I seriously considered going to the emergency room.  Luckily, I had an Albuterol inhaler on hand from a previous illness and a couple of puffs seemed to help but my lungs ached for a couple of days.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2017, 11:57 PM by deepcreek »
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Offline sylthecru

  • Posts: 39
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2017, 10:02 AM »
Sapele is addicting to me.
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Offline demographic

  • Posts: 316
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2017, 01:40 PM »
Western red cedar.
Oak.
Lignum vitae and Pitch Pine being ones that stick in my mind as being nice.

As a carpenter I don't often get to work posh woods.

Offline antss

  • Posts: 1306
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2017, 02:10 PM »
Port orford cedar
Mahogany
Longleaf heart pine over 100 years old.

Not keen on the smell of poplar or plywood.


Online Frank-Jan

  • Posts: 962
  • Dutch Canadian living in Belgium
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2017, 02:33 PM »
favourite: western red cedar, and red nordic pine.

least favourite: Angelim Vermelho; it smells like vomit;
 
After I made a fence and a gate for a customer it took weeks until the smell went out of my CT26 (yes the nasty smell stayed allthough I replaced the bag immediately after, it slowly got better after I put a bunch of those vaccuum anti-odour sticks in)

Offline pixelated

  • Posts: 68
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2017, 03:37 PM »
My favorite is cherry.

Not sure what my worst for smell. My worst experience was turning some spalted maple, I found out I'm pretty allergic to the fungus.

Offline kcufstoidi

  • Posts: 733
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2017, 03:52 PM »
Real Burma Teak not plantation, Brazilian Rosewood (unobtainium) and Waterfall Bubinga with the worst smell being from Chinese Birch Ply.

John

Offline leakyroof

  • Posts: 1958
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2017, 04:57 PM »
I like Walnut but too much cutting of it can overwhelm my basement shop at times.
 Cheap Plywood DOES smell bad.... [embarassed]
 Bloodwood was interesting, so were some other Tropical Woods that I bought in small sizes for Turning Projects a few years ago.
 Poplar smells okay for me, maybe I'm just lucky with it...
 Cedar's nice, both Red and White Oak too.
 Purpleheart as long as I don't burn a cut with it... [scared]
 The various Mahoganys are okay too.
Not as many Sanders as PA Floor guy.....

Offline Tinker

  • Posts: 3532
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #23 on: June 09, 2017, 09:05 PM »
Fresh cut sasafras smells good enough to chew. I like the smell of white oak fresh cut as well as well seasoned.  Cedars (all the junipers) are great smells but they make me sneeze, my nose gets drippy and my eyes watery.  But i like the smell anyhow. 

Elm is the first to come to mind as not particularly enjoyable.
Tinker
Wayne H. Tinker

Offline Paul G

  • Posts: 1906
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2017, 10:10 PM »
My favorite wood smell would be either cherry, apple, hickory or mesquite in my smoker loaded with meat, and a close second is a campfire  [big grin]

Chainsawing pine is also fantastic though the sticky tar is a bit of a buzz kill.
+1

Online ear3

  • Posts: 3295
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #25 on: June 10, 2017, 12:50 AM »
Favorite is Padauk.  Like working in a perfumed shop.

Least favorite is Hickory.  I find it smells like manure.

@HarveyWildes Where do you source lignum vitae btw?
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Offline TheTassieBFG

  • Posts: 83
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2017, 07:06 AM »
Definitely Huon Pine for a timber I've worked with.. though I did have a pen given to me made out of sandal wood. It sits in a draw and is pulled out periodically and run under my nose in what I imagine is similar to those tv/movie scenes when a fat old cigar is pulled out and passed pleasingly under the nose before being lit.. (I how ever have never lit up my pen)

Offline zapdafish

  • Posts: 428
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #27 on: June 21, 2017, 05:06 PM »

I have been working with ambrosia quartersawn sycamore, smell reminds me of a horse stall. Not very appealing.
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Offline jjowen

  • Posts: 73
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #28 on: June 21, 2017, 11:59 PM »
darn. Saw the topic and thought I would jump in and add Huon Pine, but I see that a couple of other Aussies beat me to it. I keep a nice long curled-up shaving of it in my desk drawer. Of course it now smells nothing like a fresh shaving.

Update: I see that my original exclamatory term was auto-edited to 'darn'. Cute.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2017, 12:03 AM by jjowen »
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Offline Dovetail65

  • Posts: 4594
    • Rose Farm Floor Medallions and Inlays
Re: Favorite Wood Odor/Scent? Worst?
« Reply #29 on: June 22, 2017, 03:26 AM »
Santos Mahogany(which is not mahogany at all) by a factor of 100 is my all time favorite. Sometimes I cut a piece just to smell up the shop. Some people call it Cabreuva, it's scientific name is  Myroxylon balsamum. If you get a real piece I think it may fast become a favorite shop smell for you. It's also pretty darn hard(twice as hard as Oak easily) and a nice wood to work with.

Some of the other smells I like are most of the True Rosewoods and True Bloodwood, not the knockoff Bloodwood that smells like a dumpster. Tulipwood has a similar scent I love as well.
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